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Sunday, June 20, 2010

a day to celebrate

Today is Father's Day. A special day when the world (or at least the United States) pauses to celebrate our Dad's. We honor them for the significant role that they played and continue to play in our lives. We pay tribute to them for their continuous and tireless care that they have exhibited over the course of many years. We thank them for being there for us when we need them, for guiding us, for teaching us, for raising us, for putting up with us, for supporting us, and most importantly for loving us.  

I love my dad and am so incredibly proud of him. Several months ago I watched as he was honored by hundreds of colleagues upon retiring after 35 years with the same company. It was amazing to see and hear the ways that he impacted those around him from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (more like 6:30 a.m.-6:30 a.m.). It helped me realize, again, just how much of an impact he has made on me and how fortunate I am to call him dad. I am sure that he would say that he wasn't the perfect dad (Is there such a thing?) and that he just tried to do the best he could. At that, I think he succeeded.

To put his impact on me in perspective, here's a bit of authenticity...My greatest fear is not being a dad. Because of him, I have a deep longing to have, raise, nurture, and love children of my own. Taking what I learned from him, I'm sure I'll be pretty good at it too! Okay...enough about me.

As much as I want this post to honor my dad, there is something much more significant to recognize today. In addition to Father's Day, this is also the 40th Anniversary of my parents' wedding. That's right, on Saturday, June 20, 1970, my parents got married at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in southeast Portland.

In the 40 years since, their love has continued to grow. Their marriage has been an amazing testimony to their love for each other and the faithfulness of the Lord. They have had many incredible adventures together and share wonderful memories of their time together. They have also been through some extremely difficult times. And yet, in those moments of anguish, pain, and uncertainty, their love and faith brought them through circumstances that could have easily torn them apart, further strengthening their love for each other and faith in God.

Congratulations Mom and Dad! I am so proud to be your son. I love you both so much and am so thankful for your example of a loving marriage. I hope that someday I will have a love like yours, one that grows each day and is better 40 years later than it was on day 1.

And speaking of day 1, let's take a look back...

Mr. & Mrs. Robert D. Larson (no "Sr." yet)...

The Toast...

Leaving the church...don't they look good?

And they're off in the fully decorated Volkswagen Beetle!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

those who love you

Over the past few days, I've thought of many things that I want to blog about: my first European adventure, the Passion Play at Oberammergau, whitewater kayaking, turning a year older, friends, relationships, love, gardening, the list goes on. Of course there is plenty of the usual stuff as well (i.e. things that the Lord has been teaching me).

I hope to get to all of this at some point in the coming weeks. But before I do, I thought I would share this quote that I came across two days ago. It comes from the story "They're Singing Your Song" as told by Alan Cohen in his book Wisdom of the Heart. The full story, whether true or not, is fairly inspiring; although, to be honest it reads a bit like something you would find in an email forward with instructions to pass it on to everyone in your address book. Still, this part of the story speaks to my heart. I hope you are as encouraged by it as I have been.
"Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused."
I am incredibly thankful for the people in my life (a number of which who are probably reading this post) who love me like this. In the past few months, I have needed it more than you know. The mistakes I've made are too many to count, many of them causing hurt in these same people (you). There have been many days when darkness overwhelmed me and caused me to doubt. I have been, and still am, broken. I have felt the heady dose of guilt. And confusion has been my constant companion as I try to find my way through the fog. Yet, these people (you) have continued to love me through it all, recognizing the truth and encouraging me along the rocky path that was laid out for me, pointing me to God and his incredible faithfulness.

The flip side of this quote is that it communicates how I attempt/want to love others, especially those closest to me. If (and when) you make mistakes or begin to believe the lies and negative thoughts about yourself, whatever their source, I'm not fooled. I see the truth, your worth. I see the real you. I want to remind you of the inherent beauty that God created in you (Psalm 139:13-14); that although broken, you are indeed whole as He holds you together (Colossians 1:17); that in Christ, God sees not your failures but your perfection and innocence (1 Corinthians 1:30); and that even though your way may be unclear, God goes before you (Isaiah 45:2).

This is how I want to love and how I want to be loved.

As usual, I've said more than I planned. I really wanted to let this quote speak for itself. But I like what I wrote, so I'm gonna leave it.